Honda's Dakar 450 unveiled
LITTLE TOUGH GUY: The Honda CRF450 Rally and (inset) its info stack are almost ready to take on the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
Honda has unveiled its CRF450 Rally model at the 2012 Cologne International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bike Fair – the one that will race the ‘Dakar’.
Honda competed nine times from 1981 in the forerunner of the present South American ‘Dakar’ rally, the real Paris-Dakar that took on the Sahara Desert until “terrorists” scared the organisers away.
Cyril Neveu (France) rode Honda to its first victory in 1982, the race’s fourth year, and from 1986-89 Honda won four consecutive titles for an overall record of five victories in nine years.
Honda will compete in the upcoming Dakar, the world’s toughest race, with the aim of putting the fuel-efficiency and endurance technology developed for its commercial vehicles to new challenges and in turn use the technology acquired from the race in commercial applications.
BAJA 1000 CHAMP
The CRF450 Rally is based on Honda’s commercial CRF450X enduro racing model but also has electronic fuel injection. Honda, then, will aim for its first rally victory with a model based on a production machine.
Johnny Campbell (USA), 11-times Baja 1000 champion, will join the four riders already announced - Helder Rodrigues (Portugal), Felipe Zanol (Brazil), Sam Sunderland (UK) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina) - to complete the five-man Honda Dakar team.
The CRF450 Rally, though still being developed, has already undergone testing in Japan and will be ridden in its first rally in Morocco from October 14, 2012. The five Dakar Honda riders will compete, but mainly to gather data, identify problems under actual race conditions, and pinpoint any operational issues.
Take a look at the new Honda in action...